PATERSON — School officials say they are close to identifying 5 to 10 students suspected of interrupting online classrooms — and suspensions could be coming as soon as Monday.

The disruption of virtual instruction in the Paterson School District during the first week of school, sometimes with obscene material, is under investigation by the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office and Prosecutor’s Office.

Superintendent Eileen Shafer is confident students are responsible for the disruptions because only someone with a Paterson public school account has access to the district’s specially designed Google Classroom program, and the attacks all came from identifiable students, district spokesman Paul Brubaker said.

He told New Jersey 101.5 that Shafer met with all school principals on Friday and information was distributed to staff about steps they can take to stop the disruptions.

"There are ways to disable the ability to share in a Google Meet and only the host can share," Brubaker said.

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He said that teachers had professional development classes about virtual learning but some lessons are learned while on the job.

"When we got our driver's license we had to take classroom classes and learned about driving in a theoretical sense, but it was a different experience when we got behind the wheel. I think that's one of the things we're going through here as we get acclimated to remote learning," Brubaker said.

Chris Lewis, the district's IT director, has been working with Google to give teachers more tools to guard against disruptions, Brubaker said.

The incidents are not limited to just one school and have also involved threats toward teachers, according to Brubaker.

"I take these types of incidences very seriously," Shafer said in a message on the district website.

Shafer warned that students who interrupt with obscene material face 10-day suspensions and a loss of technology privileges. Parents will be contacted by the school's principal and the district security department will collect a student's school issued Chromebook. Students will be responsible for getting their own assignments and their work will be retrieved by principals from their teacher's Google Classroom.

Students who otherwise disrupt virtual classrooms in which they are not enrolled risk losing technology privileges for five days.

The district started the academic year with all-virtual instruction and will review the city's heath data on Oct. 15 and will decide if some classroom instruction could begin on Nov. 1.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ